Whew! Now that the holiday rush is past, my most recent big writing deadline met, and my visit to my family concluded, I finally have time to catch up on food news.
And I have missed a lot. For example, Big Block of Cheese Day has come and gone at the White House. How did I not know this was a thing? Do click the link, it’s an odd bit of presidential history and the article is riddled with enough cheese puns for a cross-country car trip full of dads.
On a more sobering note, Sidney Mintz passed away, and the New York Times wrote a wonderful obituary that summarizes his contribution to food anthropology as well as his familial and social roots that contextualized his interest in food practices and systems of production.
I love infographics, so I appreciated NPR’s look at how dietary recommendations have changed over the last century. I grew up with the food pyramid and it’s still very much in my mind when I think of nutrition, although I think the one I was taught had meat at the top of the pyramid with no separate designation for fats and oils.
I am always ready to read about repurposing plant and animal products, but I would really like to know if flour be made out of coffee plants has caffeine in it.
The Plate serves up some hangover cures from around the world, most of which seem to have little in common. I was surprised to see that there is no consensus on what causes hangovers or how best to treat them; I assumed the condition had something to do with dehydration, which it sort of does, but that’s not the only thing.
NPR featured some lovely 19th-century-style daguerrotypes of heirloom vegetables:
Food Republic gave a little tour of historically Italian neighborhoods around the U.S., and I enjoyed seeing Philadelphia right at the top of the list although I was surprised to see Bella Vista specifically featured. I suppose for clarity’s sake it makes sense to choose one neighborhood and to let it be the one with the most recognizable landmarks, but Philadelphia’s culturally Italian spirit spreads much further south and west in the city. And–it’s not really for me to say, but I have very loyal and protective feelings for my neighborhood–the part of Philly that reminds me most of traveling in actual Italy is Passyunk Avenue, with its small paved parks and fountain and permanent chess tables, where in good weather you’ll see residents out and about, walking their dogs, pushing their strollers, chatting with the neighbors while sipping coffee or spooning up gelato.
Also: shout-out to Baltimore, which was not included on that list. Once I struck out on a long walk from a conference hotel near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and when my walk took me into a little street covered in stucco and garlanded with string lights and little flags, suddenly I knew exactly where I was and it felt comfortingly familiar.